An easy method to quickly find new work

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You are not right for most people.

As I say in my book Work With Clients You Love, working with better paying clients starts with being selective and saying no to the ones who are a bad fit for working with you.

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But when you are struggling to find work, holding out for the best fit can be especially hard. You’ll take anything you can get. Even those projects that you’ve got a bad feeling about from the start.

Luckily, there is an incredibly simple way to quickly find new work that doesn’t involve having to take on whoever walks in your front door. You are probably overlooking it (even though it is sitting right under your own nose.)

The fastest way is to contact your past clients—the good ones you would love to work with again.

All you have to do is reach out and ask them if they need any help.

$1800 from one email

I recently sent a simple email to 3 past clients of mine and here were the results:

  • 2 out of the 3 clients responded
  • One of the clients gave me a small ($300) production job
  • The other turned into a $1,500 job that later turned into a $750/month retainer

That’s $1800+ from 1 email sent to 3 past clients. All three emails I sent basically used the same script with a bit of personalization.

(For the client who didn’t respond, read these 5 email scripts for following up when a client is unresponsive)

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

Here are the responses I got:

Great to hear from you! Thank you very much for thinking of us.

And,

I was planning on reaching out to you soon. I’ll need some graphic design for a decal sign…

It’s really that simple. All you have to do is ask if they need help.

That’s it.

What to say

Here’s what I sent:

Subject: Checking in

Hi [NAME],

I wanted to follow up and see how things are going. Is there anything I can do to help grow your business? Please email or give me a call if you need help with anything.

[Your phone number]

Thanks, [YOUR NAME]

Benefits of working with previous clients

Working with past clients saves you the enormous energy you expend to land a new client.

There is a client acquisition cost for any client you take on. Even if that amount isn’t quantifiable in dollars, you spend a ton of time searching, qualifying, communicating, getting to know and pitching prospects before they ever turn into clients.

Bypassing all or most of that is a huge win for everyone.

Here are some additional benefits…

Jumpstart the process

You probably already have access to a shared dropbox with their assets or a have access to other tools they use.

Or, you might already have a signed Master Services Agreement in place that allows you to quickly bill them for the new work without having to work out all the details and contract negotiations.

Built-in trust and familiarity

If you’ve done a good job in the past, they will have that much more trust in you to do a good job again.

No need for them to take a leap of faith on you this time. They are familiar with you and might even be willing to be more hands-off this time because there is less risk than an unknown service provider.

Encourage you to do right

“You don’t want to be in the selling business. Instead, you want to be in the reorder business, where your product or service is so good, people want to reorder it or reuse it.” – John Paul DeJoria

Of course you always strive to do a good job, but when you value a client as a “client for life” it changes your mindset to see the relationship over a longer period of time.

This encourages you to always do what you can to help your client succeed and create less of a one-time transactional deal.

Why clients love it

Your previous clients know how you work. If you’ve done a good job in the past they will want to work with you again because it is hard to hire new people.

I don’t think most freelancers appreciate how much value there is for a client not to have to go looking for and hire a total unknown.

Hiring is a nerve-wracking ordeal and it takes time and effort on their part to get a new person into their system and integrated with their team. It’s so much easier to just hire a person they’ve worked with in the past.

Sometimes they just need a little nudge to remind them that you are there to support them.

How often to reach out

You should be reaching out and asking them if they need your help on average once every 6 months (depending on the nature of your work).

That amount of time should give your client enough time to have a need to hire you on a new project.

In between those six months, stay in touch with them to stay top of mind. You don’t have to do much.

You can send them helpful, relevant content but even connecting with them via Linkedin occasionally, or liking their Instagram images, or wishing them a happy birthday can be enough to keep them from forgetting about you.

When the time comes to reach out and ask if they need help, it won’t be so out of the blue and more likely that they respond to your email.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and any other methods you could recommend to quickly find new work. Comment below!

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About Ian Vadas

Ian Vadas is a designer and the author of Work With Clients You Love. Get the eBook to learn how to select clients that pay well, treat you with respect and allow you to do your best work.

For tips on getting paid and maximising your freelance revenue, join the FREE email course Pricing For Freelancers.

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Comments

  1. Hi Vadas and thank you for your article and tips.
    I’ve a question for you: would you know about, maybe not “easy”, but let’s say efficient way for finding good new clients? I’m looking for some good (free) lead generation database websites recently and strangely enough, every recommended service seems to either have ceased business, or became a paid service etc, would be interested in your suggesitons, thanks 🙂

  2. Great advice.

    I occasionally send my clients little bits of information which I think may be of interest – I find it’s a nice way to stay in touch without having to do the “How’s it all going?” email too often.

    For example, last week I saw a great blog post about getting started with Pinterest, so I fired off the link with a quick note to a client who has a craft blog/website and who I know is a bit daunted by social media. We now have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to talk about some other improvements she wants to make!

    • That’s a good suggestion, Alice.

      I didn’t include it in the article, but I did exactly that for the client that turned into a $750/month retainer.

      I started the email with the script I mentioned above and also included other materials that were relevant to them (marketing articles in their niche).

      That’s another way to make the email valuable to the client and that much more personal (and effective).

  3. Thank you for the advice.

    I’ve been wondering about an effective way to do this lately as many of my clients go silent after a few months – I’d like to stop that from happening!